MARTINSBURG, W. Va. — January 12, 2017 — Up to 10 different area fire and rescue companies responded to a fire at Quad/Graphics' "megaplant" on Caperton Boulevard here after receiving a call just after 4 a.m. Wednesday morning. Firefighters, who arrived to the sight of flames and thick black smoke, reportedly remained on the scene for about three hours.
The blaze at the 1.7 million-sq.-ft. Martinsburg plant started after paper from a shredder feeding into a baler became jammed and then overheated, Hedgeville Fire Department Chief Brian Mulligan told local television station WHAG.
The station said the only injury was to one individual who fell and sprained his ankle while trying to access a fire extinguisher. The Journal newspaper, of Martinsburg, W. Va., reported that fire trucks were in position by 4:30 a.m. and extinguished the blaze — which was confined to the northern end of the plant — by around 6 a.m. as Quad/Graphics employees who had been evacuated watched from the parking lot. The 955-employee facility was back in operation by 9 a.m. According to the paper, fire chief Mulligan pegged the damage, which was contained to one piece of equipment, to be about $20,000.
This is not the first fire to strike the Martinsburg plant. Printing Impressions reported on another fire there in June 2009 caused by leaking hydraulic fluid from a broken part on a press, which had ignited. That fire reportedly caused about $100,000 worth of damage.
A 2011 interview published by the West Virginia Department of Commerce with Quad/Graphics Martinsburg plant director Tim Pulte noted that the Martinsburg facility, which operates a gravure press as well as web offset machines, was originally slated to be a retail insert printing operation, until Quad/Graphics landed the contract to print National Geographic. The magazine, catalog and retail insert printing facility first opened in 1997.